If you have type I diabetes you are at higher risk for developing a condition called diabetic ketoacidosis. The management of diabetic ketoacidosis is essential to staying healthy and well. The best way to manage this condition is to avoid getting it. In order to avoid getting diabetic ketoacidosis you need to understand the cause of this condition and the warning signs of its onset.

Diabetic ketoacidosis management begins with the definition of this condition. When people with diabetes, primarily type I diabetes (juvenile onset/insulin dependent), get sick or do not get the necessary nutrients and insulin needed diabetic ketoacidosis can be the result. This condition occurs when the body is not getting enough nutrients and it begins utilizing its own fat, muscle and organs as fuel. The body breaks down these cells to utilize them for energy. Since the body does not produce the insulin necessary to metabolize the sugars and fatty acids, the body starts spilling ketones. Ketones are the byproduct of fatty acids caused by a process called oxidation.

In people with type I diabetes, this condition causes huge spikes in blood sugar. There are specific warning signs to look out for if you have diabetes.


Diabetic Ketoacidosis Management Guidelines


There are definite warning signs to watch for if you suffer from diabetes and want to steer clear of diabetic ketoacidosis. Your physician probably gave you guidelines to follow if you are under the weather. These guidelines were given to you so that you would know what to watch for as far as warning signs of ketoacidosis. Be sure to follow your physician’s recommendations and contact your doctor immediately if you think you might be developing ketoacidosis. It is important to understand that this condition is life threatening, and left untreated can result in permanent disabilities and even death.

According to the Mayo Clinic website, these are some of the warning signs to watch for:

  • Frequent urination or excessive thirst
  • A strong fruity breath or urine odor
  • Lack of appetite, dizziness, weakness, general sick feeling
  • Diarrhea, vomiting or both (If you are vomiting or have diarrhea, contact your doctor immediately.)
  • Abdominal symptoms, including cramping, discomfort or pain
  • Shortness of breath, fast breathing or heart rate, difficulty breathing
  • Abnormally dry mouth or skin


If you are ill, it is imperative that you monitor your blood sugar frequently and check your urine for ketones often. If either of these is elevated, contact your physician or seek out medical help immediately.


Diabetic Ketoacidosis Management


If you suspect you may have this condition, seek out immediate help for management. Diabetic ketoacidosis requires immediate treatment to prevent residual long term health problems. When you seek out medical help for this condition, this is what you can expect.

First, several tests will be ordered to check your blood sugar, ketones, and electrolytes. Depending on your other symptoms, you may also need a chest x-ray, brain CT scan or electrocardiogram (ECG). You will also be asked to give a urine sample.

The doctor will make his diagnosis based on the results of the tests ordered. If you are suffering from diabetic ketoacidosis it will be critical for your physician to get this taken care of as soon as possible. There is a very good chance that this will require hospitalization.

Treatment will start with IV fluids, insulin and electrolytes to bring balance back to the body and lower blood sugar levels. Depending on the underlying cause of the ketoacidosis, other treatment may also be required. This could include antibiotics or further testing.

After the treatment of ketoacidosis concludes, you will be given strict guidelines to follow to avoid this condition in the future. It is highly recommended that you follow these guidelines and seek medical advice immediately if you suspect the condition is returning.